HomeInsightsInformation Commissioner’s Office begins enforcement action for failure to pay the new annual data protection fee

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The ICO has begun formal enforcement action against 34 organisations that have failed to pay the new data protection fee under the GDPR. The ICO has sent 34 notices of intent to fine the organisations unless they pay.

The notices of intent were sent earlier this month to a range of organisations across both the public and private sector, including the NHS, recruitment, finance, government and accounting. The ICO says that more notices are in the drafting stage and will be issued soon.

Organisations have 21 days to respond to the notices. If they pay, action will stop. Those that ignore the notices or refuse to pay may face a fine ranging from £400 to £4,000 depending on the size and turnover of the organisation. Aggravating factors may lead to an increase in the fine up to a maximum of £4,350.

The Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018, which sets the fees payable, came into force on 25 May 2018 to coincide with the new Data Protection Act (2018) and the GDPR. The fee replaces the need to notify or register with the ICO.

Under the funding model, set by Government, organisations are divided into three tiers based on their size, turnover and whether an organisation is a public authority or charity. For very small organisations, the fee will not be any higher than the £35 they currently pay (if they take advantage of a £5 reduction for paying by direct debit). Larger organisations will be required to pay £2,900. The fee is higher because these organisations are likely to hold and process the largest volumes of data and therefore represent a greater level of risk.

Organisations that have a current registration (or notification) under the 1998 Act do not have to pay the new fee until that registration has expired. To read the ICO’s press release in full, click here.